Author: Amy Ferguson

The Shakespearian efforts of trying to hide a "Fangirl: Extreme Edition" personality from the PTA that will likely be in vain and eventually a blog post. These are the failures and pop-cultured musings from a fangirl/housewife's brain.

Day 15: Hollywood

We’re going to rein in what is quickly becoming an angsty diary instead of what was supposed to be a fun Camp Nano project. See? This is what happens. I overshare and then I get anxious that I’ve overshared and then I don’t want to share anything because I figure that the whole world now hates me and wishes I would shut up. But we’re in the middle of this project and I still have a ways to go. So let’s pretend my 15 year old emo self was never even here. Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. Day 15.

What fictional character is amazing in their book / show / movie, but would be insufferable if you had to deal with them in mundane everyday situations?

source: here

Character tropes are fun. As a writer, you get to flesh out a “person” into a 3d living, breathing entity, the quirkier the better. As readers, we get to get inside this character’s world. Hang out with them. They seem really cool and we want to be friends with them. Maybe it’s the “manic pixie girl”, maybe it’s the “tortured artist”, maybe it’s not a character in a book at all! Maybe it’s the stand-up comedian, maybe it’s a rockstar, or a movie star. Personalities set to 11.

I lived in Los Angeles for 21 years up until last summer. I love Los Angeles. I love the culture of Los Angeles. I love the people in Los Angeles. And a lot of people in Los Angeles have hiked their personalities to 11. Sometimes, it’s wonderful, other times, it’s plain awful.

Los Angeles doesn’t exist on the same plane as anywhere else. Possibly NYC but I can’t speak to that as I was only there once for like a day, although I’m going to assume it’s still not. My outsider view of New York is that people don’t put up with your nonsense. People in Los Angeles encourage it. A whole town of people encouraging other people’s dreams. It’s glorious. To an extent. And let me preface this with saying that this is young Hollywood. This is “haven’t made it yet” Hollywood. Once someone gets a touch of fame, people come out of the woodworks to grab onto their coattails and instagram selfies with their new bff, and leverage their relationships to build up their xp points. (Did I use that reference right? I always hear the kids playing Fortnite or Sea of Thieves or something and yelling to their friends about xp points. I think I’m right. Let’s go with it.)

Then there’s the middle tier people and a lot of them are amazingly wonderful and just trying to do a job but a lot of them would also drop you like a sack of potatoes if need be. Then the absolute worst ones are the ones that have bought into their own fame whatever level that is. And then you get the STARS. The people who don’t think twice about picking flies out of your wine for you and rubbing lipstick off your teeth in the middle of a sentence and envy that you live in an apartment. And not one of these people act like your standard midwesterner. Even though most of them are from there.

My favorite are the two on the ends of fame; the haven’t made it set, and the famous that doesn’t need to act famous set. Obviously, I’ve met and known a significantly higher number of the never made-its. But the innocence of both sides of fame is fascinating.

A few years ago, my kids and I were at a neighbor’s birthday party. It was in a party room at the Dave & Buster’s at Hollywood and Vine overlooking the black carpet premiere of Ghostbusters. I wish I would’ve taken a picture of it, but when there’s a movie premiere or an awards show, they close Hollywood Blvd to traffic, (obviously) but people can still walk the Walk of Fame and the stores are all still open, but it’s all barricaded off and they put up bleachers and big fake walls that say E! on them or whatever and make Hollywood look glamorous, and limos are rolling up and glittery gowns are stepping out onto the carpet that’s covering up the boulevard and cameras are rolling and big lights with filters are making everything look perfect. But what you don’t see on tv is that 10 feet behind the wall that say Chris Hemsworth is being interviewed in front of, the guy that actually works Hollywood Blvd dressed as Miss Piggy is puking into a trash can next to a dj passing out club flyers to tourists in fanny packs. And none of this is probably new information, but to have an aerial view of it, split screen and in real time is AMAZING.

The other time I remember noting the dichotomy of Hollywood was a few years after I moved to LA. I went with my friend to an audition to be a phone sex operator. And I’m sitting in this office building with other voice actor hopefuls with an unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign. It felt VERY Pretty Woman.

I haven’t even answered the question yet, this is how I get when I think about Hollywood. Anyway, all of this to say that there are a lot of people that would make great characters that live in LA. I had a neighbor who was a clown and she would answer the door in a clown suit and she drove an uber. I don’t know if she combined the two, but it’s Hollywood so it could go either way. And then there was the girl that video recorded everything, every conversation she had and claimed that she was was friends with Ray J and he wanted to produce her reality show. That was like 10 years ago, I’ve never seen her on tv.

I hung out with artists and comedians and writers and actors and some of them have actually found fame. I’ve been at those parties in West Hollywood with all of these personality to 11 people, you’ve seen those parties. Someone runs by naked, and others are sleeping in the bathtub, while someone is playing the guitar on the toilet, and people are painting in the corner and there’s loud music and everyone knows everyone and people are talking about their scripts or their headshots. The kind of parties that you see in movies about Hollywood. They’re real. A nerd like me has been to a bunch of them. And they were fun. But much like characters in book or a film, most of these people don’t stick around for longer than their story. Sometimes I’ll see one of the people I know back then on tv, or scrolling tumblr, there’s another one holding an emmy. But we never bonded over friendship the way you normally do. We bonded fast and quick like a makeshift family because we all came here alone. And we all supported each other in our dreams and then our dreams took us on a different journey.

Then there are the ones that are the embodiment of wacky love interest, unconventional girl in some movie written by a dude. These girls are a hot mess in real life. All of them either move back home , wind up in jail, or are dead from an overdose in 6 months. Let this be a lesson to all my Hollywood hopefuls, don’t ever allow yourself to become a trope out of some guy’s version of romance. Hollywood will eat you alive.

Los Angeles. I love you with my whole heart.

Day 14

Should anyone be actually keeping up with this thing, you may have noticed that all day long yesterday, you were waiting on bated breath for a Day 13 only to be let down. Well, Day 13 went about as well as superstition would have you believe it would. For whatever nefarious reason cooked up in the minds of Google, I was signed out of all my Google things. And THEN forced to keep changing my password, and THEN not being allowed in anyway, all the while, Google keeps sending frantic alerts to my cell phone that someone was trying to change my Google password. This went on for several hours. So that was annoying. Also annoying, I have a Chromebook. Everything was stopped. And this just cemented my decision not to switch to an Android phone. I can’t have Google deciding my level of internet activity on every device I own like some troll on a bridge. Anyway, I’m back in and back to business. Day 14 of my Camp Nano Question of the Day project actually is going to come from that Myspace quiz thing that I did the other day, but I think I didn’t answer this question then because it is generally vapid and so I deleted it. But I have been thinking a lot about this question since then and it’s a lot more valid then I gave it credit for.

What’s your favorite physical feature?

When I read this question the other day, I started to answer it but ultimately thought better of it because it sounds like a ridiculous question and I had to weed a lot of the MySpace questions out for length.

Originally I answered “My nose?” because in reality, I was lucky enough in my dna chain to be born with a standard, straight, short, thin, white girl nose that the magazines have decided is “a good nose shape”. I only became aware of it because it was the one thing I was consistently complimented on. My sister was “not so lucky”, someone (our mom) would say. And it gave her a complex. And while I had “the nose”, Julie had “the hair”. That’s the thing I “wasn’t so lucky” on. Julie’s hair was thick and straight and she could put it in this amazing ponytail that I envied. My hair was very thin and started to get curly in about 2nd grade. But it only went curly (actually, frizzy) in the top back. Everything else was straight. And I would get hit with the comb for not “combing [my] hair! It looks like a rat’s nest! Aren’t you embarrassed?!” Well, I am now, mom. And I have been for 38 years or whatever the math is. So thanks?

Look, I don’t believe any of it was intentionally said to cause long lasting traumas, and I don’t even think it was said in malice, however, once I had kids of my own, I started to remember the things that I carry because of my parents (my mom). And I try to parent the way that I wanted that parent to be when I was 12. It didn’t all come at once, but it is gradually evolving and I’ll never be good at parenting, but I have to be better.

I was shaving my legs in the shower recently and I consciously recognized the memory that plays in my head everytime I shave the back of my thighs. We were at the Del Mar Fair in San Diego when I was 10 and my mom was making fun of a woman with hair on the back of her thighs. “What does she think, hair doesn’t grow back there?”. And here’s the thing, she probably will never remember that this happened. But I do. 33 years later and it’s the reason I shave the back of my thighs even though I NEVER wear anything showing my thighs. Because “cellulite is gross” and “How do you have stretch marks? you’re 16!” and once at my swimming lessons when I was 14, “That girl is going to have saddlebag thighs, look at that! Do you see how her thighs bulge out like that?”. And this haunted thoughts affect me and my fashion choices every single day. And knowing that I hear my own mom’s voice when looking at myself and others are the reasons that I, as a mom, stopped verbally talking about other people’s flaws. And my own flaws. I have boys so they likely won’t have to worry if they have hair on the backs of their thighs and stretch marks and cellulite to keep them from wearing shorts, BUT I don’t want them to hear me, the main woman in their lives, say that about myself or other women because I don’t want them to think that about any woman. Ever. I don’t want them to EXPECT that from any other woman.

And a side effect that I didn’t even see coming, is that when I stopped trying to look for flaws in other people, I started accepting my own body a bit more. I’m not 100% there yet, but when I stopped seeing people, women as the “flaw”, I started loving them and in turn, started seeing myself in them. If I could love their cellulite, then I could love my own. If I could love their curly hair, I could love my own.

The actual turning point for me from being potentially able to accept myself to being proud of myself came from my own child. My littlest one always grabs my upper arm to go to sleep. And it’s annoying and uncomfortable. One day a few years ago he said “Mom, I like your squishy arms!” and I was DEVASTATED because of the whole arm flaps that all the ladies I know worry about. “Oh my GOD! I have squishy arms and arm flaps.”

But the other night, he was falling asleep and I was telling him that eventually he has to be able to fall asleep without me because how would he ever be able to spend the night at a friend’s house or go to Outdoor Lab and he said he would build a robot mom that was exactly like me with my squishy arms “but maybe nicer” and that would help him fall asleep if I wasn’t there.

The idea that something that I have been so self-conscious about is the thing my child would purposefully build into a better version of me if he needed to has drastically changed my opinion of myself. I’m not a monster that needs to adapt to a better physical form, I’m perfect (except maybe could be a little nicer) to one of the only people’s opinions that even matter.

And this whole thing probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but I’ve had a revelation and it feels very important.

Sorry this whole project that was supposed to be helping me with my novel has becoming an oversharing, online, unsolicited therapy session, but, here we are.

Day 12: The City Mouse

Remember that Aesop fable about the country and city mice? I mean, of course you do, they even made a Tom & Jerry episode about it. Well, growing up in Colorado, there were farms everywhere and I always wanted to live in one when I grew up. A cute little red farm with cows and chickens and I would have a dog to run around and be cute and chase sticks and I’d maybe have a lake on my farm and I could go out on a little boat in the summer and read. I’m not sure who I thought would be doing all the farm work, but those are silly details. And I would enjoy iced tea on the porch and birds would chirp and I would listen to the baseball game on the radio and look out on my lake and my cows and my chickens as a light breeze would blow through my hair. That’s it. That’s the dream. And the nightmare. Let’s get on with Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. Day 12.

What Is Your Silliest Fear?

source: here

I grew up in a suburb in a field in an area in Colorado that couldn’t even decide if it was Westminster or Broomfield. The first few years we lived there, we didn’t even have a paved road into our neighborhood. The neighborhood itself was paved, just nothing else around it. The whole thing was built at once for the most part and they had even laid out a golf course behind our house. There was just no one to take care of it so it just turned into really tall grasses and sand traps and snakes and that’s where we adventured.

Because almost everyone moved there at the same time and almost everyone was a new family, there were about 20 of us kids all within a couple year age range and we grew up together like that all the way through high school. I’m still in touch with a bunch of them to this day now that I think about it, and that part has nothing to do with my fear. I’m getting there though.

Okay, so you’ve got this overgrown golf course that leads into a field for miles and miles and miles on nearly all sides and there was a lake that would freeze over in the winter and we would all go skating on it and someone’s dog fell through once (don’t worry, he was saved) and I remember they dragged it one year, because I’m of the belief that they were looking for a dead body but that probably isn’t what was happening.

I remember one morning waking up to cows mooing outside my bedroom window and my dad yelling. I sat up and looked out my second story window and saw hundreds of rogue cows eating everyone’s lawns. They had broken through a fence at their farm a couple miles away and descended upon our little suburbia with ruthless abandon. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Good job, cows. This part also isn’t related to my fear.

There was never a shortage of kids to play with and we generally all played together, either in one big group or in smaller side stories, but there was never NO ONE to play with. One of our favorite games was dark hide and seek. We would go outside after dinner and play hide and seek in the dark. And it got dark out there. And we felt like spies!

And then there were times in the late afternoons, just after the sun had set that we’d be out in the golf course playing in the tall grasses and jumping snakes when all of a sudden I would turn around and everyone was gone and I was alone in the big vast space and the panic would set in. It’s not that I couldn’t see the kids all off in the distance walking back to their houses, and my houses was right there, but I was so far away. And alone. And I would run as fast as I could to catch up to them, and I’m not entirely sure what I was scared of but it felt like that one scene in Poltergeist where the mom is running, trying to get to the bedroom door but it just keeps getting further and further away. Like that.

I still have that panic. Someone once told me it sounded like agoraphobia and I’m not sure that’s it? But to be fair, I haven’t really researched it. I’m not scared of going or being in places where people are. Even if I don’t know anyone. I mean, I get anxious about it sometimes but, that’s just me with my anxiety nonsense, but it’s not that terrified panic like I need to run somewhere. I have never ever felt the feeling in a crowd of people. It’s when there aren’t any people and I’m not where I need to be. I couldn’t even tell you what I’m even afraid is going to happen if I stay somewhere alone. I mean, I can be in my house alone, I love that, but like alone in an office building? Or in a pool? Full-on Poltergeist hallway panic. I even feel the panic when I start thinking about space or when my husband and I were talking about flying to Maui.

And that’s why I could never live on a farm. Maybe not even in a big house. I’m apartment people. Because I’m a city mouse. I need people. I would never make it in an apocalypse, obvious reasons aside like I’m not drinking fish tank water, or eating my neighbor’s cat, but ALSO because I don’t know how long I could handle being alone.

Day 11: The Hurting

Day 11 of this Camp Nano project was thisclose to being about baseball because I have A LOT to say about the importance of the meaning of baseball and because of the Angel game last night and the tribute to Tyler Skaggs being more magical than a scripted movie about the the tribute to Tyler Skaggs written by and starring Kevin Costner could possibly be, and I still have a LOT to say about it, but it felt cheap to use that as a talking point today. So I sat on it. And I did my day, which included petting puppies at a wine tasting and I thought I would just not write anything today, take a day off and try again tomorrow, and then I was scrolling tumblr and saw a post about Songs form the Big Chair, the sophomore album from Tears for Fears hitting the #1 spot for the fifth week in a row today back in 1985 and I became that meme of the dog with the birthday cake that focuses in on his eyes like he’s having an existential crisis. So we’re going to leave the baseball romantics for another day and focus in on my pain. Like birthday cake dog. Welcome.

What album defines your childhood?

source: Probably buzzfeed or a myspace quiz

Songs from the Big Chair is THAT album for me. I was 8 nearly 9 when, according to a tumblr post, this album was the #1 album in the US however many years ago today.

One night in August 1983, my parents sat at a restaurant with my sister and I while they signed divorce papers. I was 6 (or 7? but the math on this isn’t adding up and I’m tired and I hate it because I always assumed I was 7) anyway, I was tired and I didn’t know what adult things they were up to and I just wanted to go home, so I threw the only fit I remember throwing out of “teenager” age. We ended up leaving the restaurant, because of my dramatics and we all got into the same car and a few minutes later, as Metro by Berlin played on the radio, we slammed into and then went over the hood of another car in an intersection near my dad’s new apartment.

I will be 43 in a few days and while I know full well none of it has anything to do with me AND it was like a hundred years ago, I’m not lying when I tell you that I still feel somewhat responsible for the car accident, my parents’ divorce, and ultimately, the entire breakdown of my childhood.

Yeah, I know.

So what does this have to do with Tears for Fears? you ask?? NOTHING and everything. My dad was always into the newest, coolest trends, music included. And he had been playing this album called The Hurting by this new band called Tears for Fears for awhile at this point (of the car accident). And I remember learning that Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal (the Tears for Fears guys if you didn’t know) met each other at school and they both came from broken homes and supposedly a whole bunch of The Hurting album was about dealing with your parents’ divorce which became REAL relevant to my interests.

I loved listening to records with my dad. He had his finger on the pulse of music while my mom was listening to old Wings albums and Journey. Now, listen. If you know me, you know how I high I place Wings in “greatest bands of all time”, but when you’re 7, 8, or 9, 10, etc, Wings is at the bottom of the cool barrel. Journey was even lower. I also had a lot of resentment towards my mom because of the divorce but that’s a whole other book.

In Summer of 1985, Everybody Wants to Rule the World was the song we were all singing, from my best recollection. My sister and I, along with a boy named Jamie from Iowa that I had a crush on, and a few more kids I can’t even picture, were all in some kind of summer day camp babysitter situation and the only things I can remember from it are Jamie from Iowa who I was going to marry, us being teased by a bunch of boys because we (my sister and I and another girl) weren’t in training bras yet, and walking through some wooded areas looking for an abandoned house that had Farts in a Can on the shelves. Oh, and singing Everybody Wants to Rule the World as we walked around and balanced on logs like we were in a movie, and it seems like it was unsupervised. It was the 80s. My mom, who had, up until the divorce, been a mostly stay at home mom, had to get a full time job which meant we went to babysitters. I hated it and I felt anxious and socially awkward the whole time I was at someone else’s house and thank god I had my sister with me. I VOWED if I ever had kids, I would never make them go to an all day babysitter. This, by the way, was the beginning of the worst of my childhood when I was with my mom, and the best of it when I was with my dad.

My first concert ever was September 8, 1985 when Tears for Fears played Red Rocks in Golden, Colorado. My mom was livid that my dad took my sister and I to our first concert claiming that my dad didn’t even like Tears for Fears. And then to one up him, she took us to a Berlin concert with her then current boyfriend.

And when I listen to Tears for Fears, I get this sense of calm. Like a hug from my dad’s dimly lit living room that I’m going to be okay. That someone has my back. That I don’t have to protect everyone all the time.

I don’t feel that feeling very often. And I talk about it even less. But anyway, not to bring the party down…

What’s your favorite album? How did it define your childhood?

Day 10: The Dollhouse

I am always avoiding several things at all times (like finishing the Day 8 post) and today is not a new or special day in that department, but instead of overthinking that and causing myself undue stress over something I’m still not going to do, even after I’ve worried about not doing it all day, I’m going to funnel that procrastination into my Camp Nano question of the day project. So on to Day 10…..

What’s a hobby you would like to take up?

source: I don’t know.

Dollhousing. Is that even a word? But that’s it. That’s my future hobby. It’s a completely impractical hobby for me but I can’t help it. I am obsessed with dollhouses. I always have been. I got a dollhouse when I was a kid for Christmas or something and I used to love playing with it and pretending I was small enough to live inside of it. And sometimes at night right before I would fall asleep, all of my muscles would tense and I would get the feeling of shrinking way way down very quickly to the carpet and seeing it magnified and I can still feel that dropping feeling in my stomach and on my skin. Maybe I watched The Incredible Shrinking Woman too many times.

Oh my god, The Incredible Shrinking Woman! Do you remember that movie?? That was my favorite. I’m going to use this opportunity to share the only tweet I’ve ever tweeted that makes my twitter mean anything. It got zero likes.

twitter

I like going into those shops that sell all the tiny furniture. And those little paintings? And the tiny chandeliers?? I could spend so much money on this that maybe I shouldn’t even start. I had a friend in 6th grade whose mom made little furniture for dollhouses. That’s also a thing I could see myself getting very into. Ooh! What if I revived my etsy shop but instead of purses sitting all over my house getting dusty, I could make dollhouse stuff! My husband would hate it. GASP!

Oh my god I need to stop! Where would I even put a dollhouse?? My mother-in-law has one. It is gorgeous and handmade I think. I have no room for a dollhouse.

Imagine painting it! And pretending it had a ghost! Would I have people? Maybe they could host dinner parties and have a tiny little record player.

I have a creepy attic that has Greg Brady looking carpet in it and a mirror attached to the wall. It even has a closet like someone was living up there once. I at first thought that I could make that my dollhouse room but I’m a little scared of it up there to be honest so change of plans, maybe I can convince my husband to move his game room up there and I could use the guest room as my dollhouse room! It’s gotta work. I have just convinced myself in this small span of time that I cannot live without a dollhouse.

It could even have it’s own instagram and a youtube channel where I could investigate the ghost. Alright, I’m cutting this short. I have some internet research to do.

Day 9: The Internet

The internet. (To be said with a deep sigh). Day 9 of Camp Nano Question of the day and I’ve decided to tackle a question that is currently a source of my mood. I woke up today and for no real reason, I felt, and still feel like I don’t want to deal with the internet. No, it’s not the internet, it’s social media. It’s such an invasive drain on my emotional and mental health and it has been and I know this, but I don’t stop because with the bad does come the good, and most times there is more good than bad, but at what cost? So let’s get on with it.

How long could you survive without the internet?

source: the internet

I grew up during an interesting time, one where we had computers in elementary school but all we could do with them was play games or type. It wasn’t until I was in high school that we ever got one in the house and we were one of the few because they were very expensive and kind of useless unless you were doing bookkeeping or playing Solitaire and Myst.

The internet arrived sometime in the early 90’s on floppy drives through the mail. And then you were charged by the hour. We didn’t have Google back then, Yahoo wasn’t a thing, there was no such thing as a search engine. You just put your disk in the drive, punched a phone number into your modem, waited awhile to see if you could connect and you had one homepage to direct you to your mail or a chat room. And you had one hour. The timer was set. I think it was actually less than that. I think you got 25 hours a month and then they would charge you by the hour. I remember I had a friend in high school get ADDICTED TO THE INTERNET and it was this big scandal because her parents got a $900 bill from Compuserve. “And who spends that much time on the internet?! What could you possibly do?!

25 hours a month, can you imagine?? I spend 25 hours a day on the internet now. And it wasn’t even that long ago. I remember in the late 90s when Colgate got a website and we were all like, “Why would Colgate need a website?” and one of my friends goes, “Well, there goes the internet. You know it’s not cool anymore when corporations get onboard. It’s going to ruin everything.”

Overall I think the internet is an amazing thing. People know more about the world, people are able to connect with people all over the world. It’s made more of us more socially aware, more politically aware (or misinformed…), it allows us to to connect with the world and information and our passions in ways we never had before.

There’s also a lot of bad about the internet and mostly in form of whatever drew me to it in the first place. Social Media. It wasn’t called social media back in the day, and it wasn’t the horrible place it’s become. It was fun, it was supportive, it was a creative outlet. When MySpace happened, I went from using the internet a couple of times a week to using the internet a couple of times a day. It was addictive. Everyone you knew had their own mini website! What a cool way to keep in touch with everyone and to let them know what you were into, what you thought was cool, what song you needed them to hear immediately upon opening your page. But it was still safe because you controlled it. You were in complete control of the information you chose to take in.

Soon everyone moved to Facebook. I remember this vividly. I had a Facebook back in 2006 because my sister-in-law was in college and she knew my love for social media and invited me in. That is when I became Colgate. This was back when it was meant for college kids only and you had to be invited to create a page. I was 30 and everyone was still on MySpace so I didn’t even try to figure Facebook out. Until 2 years later when I was alone on MySpace because everyone had jumped ship to the next biggest thing. Facebook.

At first Facebook was alright because you still had to actually go to someone’s page to interact with them. But then Facebook decided to Twitterize and soon, you got to read every single thought everyone was having, every single moment they were having it. All day. And you would scroll and scroll because you had to know why Sheila was having such a bad day you weren’t allowed to ask about it. And everyone you have ever known was there airing their dirty laundry like a soap opera in real time. It was addicting.

You got to know people in an intimate way that you never got to before. It was very voyeuristic. But there’s a limit to everything. My social media breaking point came in 2010. It was the mid-term elections and republicans swept up a bunch of seats in the house and senate giving them a majority. I am very liberal and I have a lot of liberal friends, but I also have some conservative friends, probably not as many anymore, but that’s the environment we live in now. But back to 2010, I could not believe the casually racist things I was seeing out of people in my “friends” from Facebook that just escalated from Obama’s first 2 years that when the GOP took over majority I was done with facebook for awhile. And actually, to this day, I have never gone back completely. For the past nine years, I log on to Facebook to say something that makes me laugh, scroll the suggested posts until I see one that makes me want to hit my head into the wall and then I close the app. In doing so, my mental health has skyrocketed when I didn’t even realize it was so bad. I was so angry at everything. And hurt by things I perceived as slights. I hated people. I took mental notes of who was liking what and whether or not they were liking my posts. And now I don’t even know. I can’t be bothered to care. And it’s so freeing. But even in limited form, I keep going back.

My husband got a new phone a few months ago and never installed the Facebook app and he says he feels so free. And he never had a Facebook problem. Can you imagine?? Not going on social media???

I keep ALMOST getting to the point of ditching Facebook, but for one, my birthday’s next week and you know how popular you feel on Facebook on your birthday, it’s like you’re the prom queen! Also, who’s going to laugh at my jokes if I ditch Facebook? Nobody else thinks I’m funny. How am I going to know my friend from college, Benilda died if not from an ominous post from her page talking about it in first person from the afterlife? How else will I get invited to join a pyramid scheme?!

What do people do without the internet all day? What are you going to get mad at? The outside? Well, actually, I am able to curse the outside quite a lot. Like right now. It’s too hot and I have to go to the store. I don’t want this.

I don’t see myself ever going internet free. Not even social media free even though I have cut way back. I keep going back because I miss the fun parts of social media. The good parts. The seeing friends part. But I can’t get as invested as I was. It’s not good. It’s even worse than your parents getting a $900 bill from Compuserve.

Day 7: Girl Meets Rider

Oops. I forgot to do Day 7 because yesterday (day 7) I was so worried about the appraiser from the bank that came into our home this morning and I was on Operation: Hide all Undies and Other Signs that we Live Here AND it was also the MLB All-Star Game and well, I didn’t finish this one. I’m going to try to do two of these today. Day 7 (pretend that it is) is exciting because this is basically how I live through all my relationships. If we’re friends, I’ve already assigned you a tv show character. Or a Beatle. I don’t make the rules. I do make the rules, actually.

If You Had To Compare Yourself To One Fictional Character, Who Would It Be?

Source: I don’t know.

My biggest problem with this question is that it says to chose one. I have several. This is one of my favorite sorting systems. Some of you use Harry Potter houses which I find fascinating and also confusing because I have only seen the first couple of movies and I never read the books and I’m kind of overwhelmed with the whole research needed to understand it and the closest I have ever gotten to using the houses as a personality measure is when I’ve told my husband to “stop getting all hufflepuff” over something. I don’t even know what hufflepuff means in the Harry Potter universe but it’s now become an actual word in my house that roughly translates to getting all worked up over something ridiculous. Which actually, now that I think about it, maybe I can’t learn the real meanings of the houses because “Hufflepuff” has its own life living as an adjective in my house and I’m sorry, JK Rowling, that’s just how it is now.

I’ll extend this out to to two posts because I have a lot to say about all of it. And I don’t think I’m going to properly answer this question because I have grievences to air. Day 8 will be categorizing everyone I know, but today, I’ll chose the one. If I was pressured to hone it in, a narrow it down or die situation type thing, I’m going to have to go with my fave, Lucy Ricardo. Because, number one, the schemes. Two? Being celebrity obsessed. Three? Looking like a fool a lot. Four? Stubborn. And! I can’t believe I almost moved on without mentioning this!! I’ve had a real life I Love Lucy episode happen to me. You remember the episode where Lucy sees William Holden in the Brown Derby? Well…

Summer of ’97, I had just moved out to Los Angeles (to be a rockstar) and I got a job at a retail store at Universal CityWalk. The store isn’t there anymore, it’s now a Sephora, but before that, it was this really cool bookstore/gift store/cafe called Upstart Crow.

Me (glasses), Claudia (blonde, owner), and Vanessa (the Ethel to my Lucy) at Upstart Crow during New Years Eve Y2K and kind of a little drunk and scared that someone was going to try to bomb CityWalk, because security told us to be on the lookout for suspicious people or unattended baggage.

So back to the story, sometime in ’97 or ’98, I was standing behind the register and there was a guy looking at the bestseller shelves right in front of me and I swore I knew him. And I could not for the life of me figure out how. So for like 15 minutes, I followed this guy around the store because it was killing me, where did I know this guy from???? Did I go to high school with him? (which would be weird because I went to high school in Colorado). I couldn’t figure it out.

A bit later I went out on my lunch break to the patio that was part of the cafe. So I’m out there, minding my own business, reading my romance novel, eating my mac & cheese and I could feel someone staring me down. I look up from my book and it’s the guy. He’s at the other end of the patio, sitting at an empty table staring me down. Creepy, but yes! He knows me too! Right? I’m a little thrown off because he’s staring at me, like intensely and purposefully staring me down. He obviously came out to sit on the patio with the sole intention to stare me down. So, I try to ignore it and go back to my book when it hits me. I don’t know this guy from high school. No. I know him because he’s Shawn Hunter on Boy Meets World and I’ve just completely been a creep following him around the store and he’s now paying me back. I got Bill Holdened by Rider Strong. I felt my face go red, I slammed my book shut, grabbed my lunch while simultaneously dropping my fork onto the concrete with a loud klank and spilling what was left of my coffee onto my shirt. I ran inside the store and hid in the back corner until my coworker assured me that he left.

I wish I could tell you that this embarrassing part of my LA story ended there, but it did not.

Most nights after a closing shift, my coworkers and I would drive 5 minutes up the road to Bob’s Big Boy where we would hang out for hours and laugh and eat french fries and drink multiple cups of coffee. I lived a very wild life. So a couple weeks later after the “incident”, we’re at Bob’s doing our thing, when the entire cast of Boy Meets World walks in and sits in the booth behind us. And I am once again eye to eye with Rider Strong. I tried to play it cool like I didn’t even see him, but I did. And so did all of my friends who have heard this story about 75 times. And whether he remembered who I was or not, I totally swear he was staring me down again and I wanted to disappear forever through the crack in the light brown vinyl booth I was on. Which I might’ve. Or maybe I fainted, or astral projected out of there immediately, who knows, but I could not tell you how that one ended. I have seriously blocked it out. Because it’s awful. And it’s all I think about now when someone mentions him or the show or bowl cuts.

I have never felt more hufflepuffed in my life.

Day 6: The MySpace Survey

Way back in the 2000s, I spent way too much of my free time filling out those MySpace surveys and tagging friends or whatever we did to make sure our friends read them, commented on them, and then also did the surveys. And that’s kind of what this Question of the Day project I’m trying out for Camp Nano reminds me of. And I LOVE IT. So today we’re doing things a little differently. Let’s roll back to a simpler time, a time when I could make you listen to whatever song I chose to autoplay, a time before social media became the worst place in the world.

Name: Amy
Birthday: July 18
Birthplace: Denver
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 5’6
Right handed or Left handed: Right handed. But this just made me think of a story my great-grandma used to tell us. When she was in school, they used to hit her hands with a ruler if she tried to write left handed. So she actually could write with both hands. This was back in Scotland though so maybe that’s a Scottish thing or she was lying to us. Both scenarios are highly likely.
My Worst Habit: Procrastination
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Shoe Size: 6.5
Pants Size: I’m a medium in lounge pants. I don’t know how that translates in real people pants.
Innie or Outie: Innie.
Parents Still Together? Nope. They got divorced when I was 7
The Shoes You Wore Today: my black Skecher running shoes.
However, I would like it on the record that I don’t run unless I think I’m about to be murdered.
Your Weakness: Physical strength.
Your Fears: Being murdered
Your Perfect Pizza: Cheese pizza. Especially if it’s from Barone’s in LA
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Finally finish that novel
Thoughts First Waking Up: I don’t know that they’re thoughts, but I’m usually cussing out the cat.
Your Bedtime: Around 10:30 or 11. I’m an old lady now.
Your Most Missed Memory: I don’t know that I have one.
FRIENDS AND LIFE
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? An old Hollywood era diva so I can dramatically throw myself upon the staircase at the slightest inconvenience, complete with fur lined dressing gown and a sparkly chandelier
How Do You Want To Die? Well I know how I don’t want to die and that’s murdered in a cabin in the woods.
Who Makes You Laugh The Most? This is when you need access to your friend list so you can answer based on who has you in their top 8
Who Have You Known The Longest? I have a friend named Heather who I’ve known since we were 2 years old
When Have You Cried The Most? When my sister died. This is a boring answer.
What Is The Best Feeling In The World? Laughing
Worst Feeling? Anxiety.
Where Do You Want To Live When You Grow Up? In the house with the dramatic staircase and the chandelier
If You Could Change One Thing About You What Would It Be? The anxiety thing.
FINISH EACH SENTENCE
What a nice young man!
Where did all the cowboys go?
Silly, little snails
Never under any circumstance open that drawer.
I wish that people still did these surveys
Everyone has a secret
I am tired.
HAVE YOU EVER
Been In Love? Yes.
Been To Juvie? I had to go to juvie court once to act as a witness against the girl from Notre Dame High School that stole my car. She didn’t show up because she was in labor. This is a true story.
Mooned Someone? No on purpose
Been Rejected? Yes
Ran Away From Home? Once when I was like 8. I packed a bag and ran out and hid in the backyard for like a half an hour and then came back in because it got dark and I was scared.
Skipped School? No
Slept Outside? I have blocked it out if so.
Laughed So Hard You Cried? That’s the best way to laugh
Cried In School? Probably
Thrown Up In School? I threw up on the school bus in like 1st grade or something. It was embarrassing.
Wanted To Be a Model? I did. I went to the Barbizon School of Modeling too. I am not a model.
Cheated On Someone? No, unless you count board games, because then yes.
Done Something Really Stupid That You Still Laugh At Today? That pretty much sums up my 20s
Seen A Dead Body? Only at a funeral and I’d like to keep it that way.
Drank Alcohol? I’m 42
Smoked? I did I quit like 12 years ago when I found out I was pregnant
Eaten Sushi? Nope.
Been On Stage? I have! I was in choir AND I was a nerdy theater wanna be kid in high school. I failed every audition.
Gone Skinny Dipping? No! I don’t know what’s swimming around down there and the last thing I want is something touching my butt.
Shoplifted? Yeah. But it was way long ago, please don’t call the police.
Been Beaten Up? No. Surprisingly.
DO YOU
Sing Well? No. That doesn’t stop me.
Shower Daily? No.
Want To Go To College? I’ve been to college but sometimes I do want to go take some more classes.
Want To Get Married? I am already married, but here’s some life advice. Skip the big expensive wedding. City Hall it and use the money you saved on a down payment for a house.
Believe In Yourself? Sometimes
Get Motion Sickness? Yes.
Think You Are Attractive? Only under very specific circumstances in the bathroom mirror at like 10 pm.
Get Along With Your Parents? I do.
Like Thunderstorms? Sometimes.
Play An Instrument? I do not.
Own An IPOD? I actually do. I think it’s a second or third generation. It’s turquoise.
Pray? Only if I think I’m dying.
Go To Church? I’m not religious.
Sleep With Stuffed Animals? Only when they’ve made their way in with one of my kids in the middle of the night.
Keep A Journal/Diary? I used to. I reread them recently and that was a mistake.
Dance In The Rain? No, usually I’m running inside
Sing In The Shower? I do

Alright, that was long and probably boring which is likely the reason no one does MySpace surveys anymore. Okay, I did it, now it’s your turn.

Day 5: In the words of Harvey Dent, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Day 5 of my Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. I’m enjoying this little project. I feel like it’s keeping my brain active, writing-wise without bogging it down in the details of all the things keeping me frustrated about the novel itself. So on to today’s question that I saw on Pinterest like 75 times so I have no original source. I think it’s one of those questions though, that manifested itself into being like a mist of self-reflection.

Do you consider yourself to be the hero or the villain of your own story?

source: Pinterest mist

I like this question because I think it’s the ultimate theme to my unfinished, above mentioned novel. Because everyone sees themselves as the hero, right? I mean, that’s what they say. Everyone identifies as the hero. But what if we’re wrong? What if we’ve burned every bridge in town for the dramatics, because we think we’re taking a stand against injustice, but maybe also because we’re leaving. Because if we don’t down burn all the bridges as we leave, we have to face the reality that we’re walking out alone. That life will go on exactly the same without us and not one person will notice.

I don’t know where I’m going with this exactly. I think that while we all identify with the hero, we’re all secretly scared we’re the villain. We’re so scared that someone will notice and call us out on our abhorrent morals so they can cast us as the new villain for the pitchforks of the community, that we are one accusing sounding question away from throwing the first stone. And regardless of all of it, I think if we’re trying to insert ourselves into the story in the first place, we’ve already chosen to be the villain whether we recognize it yet or not.

My son is the biggest Star Wars fan I’ve ever met and has been since he was about 4 or 5 years old. So, probably because I have had a Star Wars movie on in the background for the better part of 6 years now, I have noticed some things that parallel my current thoughts, so pardon my rudimentary Star Wars analogy that someone’s probably going to tell me I’m wrong about but, I don’t care. I can easily block out rude opinions on Star Wars so save your breath unless you genuinely want to have a proper discussion about Star Wars philosophy. Unless it’s about Jar Jar Binks. This is a Jar Jar Binks-free zone.

And, as you know, if you’ve ever taken Philosophy 101 or an English Lit class in college, Star Wars is an epic example of hero vs. villain and self-insertion into your own story. And if you haven’t seen Star Wars and don’t want spoilers, stop reading. Okay, so jedis, or is jedi already plural? I don’t know, I’m not going to look it up. But! The force finds them. They’re not trying to be heros, you know what I’m saying? They just are. They already have the force and instinctively use the force for good, like Obi Wan and Yoda* and Rey. I mean, Luke wasn’t looking for the force, he just wanted to go Tosche Station to pick up some power converters! but it found him anyway.

And then you have Anakin. I’m going pause here to deep sigh and eyeroll about how emotionally RIDICULOUS and DRAMATIC all Skywalker men are. And it’s specific to the male Skywalker gene. Anakin’s mom? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of her son; didn’t whine. Padme? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of whiny baby Anakin and baby Luke’s future; didn’t whine. Uncle Owen and Aunt Baru? Took in baby Luke only to be sassed at by him and his whining and then burned to their deaths; didn’t whine. Leia? A goddess; told everyone to stop whining. But the Skywalker men? Anakin, Luke, and the worst of them all, Kylo Ren? They all need naps and a reality check.

Now that that’s off my chest, where were we? Oh Anakin. Now, the force found him, same as it found Luke and Rey and the rest I imagine. Anakin wanted it too much, though. He wanted the fame and recognition and found himself burning in lava. Villain. Kylo Ren, wanted the fame and recognition, ended up gutting his dad. Villain. Also, both of them wanted to choke out Luke and I get that. I do. However, we let Luke live because he made better choices. Until he didn’t, and a Skywalker fit was thrown. And people died.

And here’s the point I’m trying to spit out. Everyone can be a hero, but when you start deciding that you need the recognition and the fame and all that for your heroic deeds, you’ve become the villain by default. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t redemption. Look at Anakin/Darth Vader. When he chose to help Luke rather than sacrifice him for the clout of it all, he hero’d out of his villainy. And then he died. And then was worshipped as a villain anyway. Karma, dude.

*Stop it now.

Day 4: The Bucket List

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it, a woman older than me was squatting down in front of a bench crying because she had just found out that she was dying in a couple of months or days or something and she goes, “Well, there’s 10 minutes of my life I wasted crying and I can’t get back,” and then she said she didn’t know what she wanted to do with the rest of her short life and asked me, if I found out I was dying in a couple months, or even weeks, what would I do? So I’m going to take this question from the dying lady with the messy hair from my dream and use it for today’s post.

If you found out you were dying in a month, what would you want to do with the rest of your life?

source: Dream Lady

Part of me would want to actually do all the things I’m afraid of, like camping and traveling and ordering a pizza over the phone and deleting Facebook and wearing a swimsuit in public. But then there’s the realistic part of me that thinks that things would probably stay the same. I’d probably sit around all day in my lounge pants watching stuff on tv like I Love Lucy and When Harry Met Sally while I scroll through the internet like I’m getting paid by the hour. And I’d probably still yell at the kids for fighting and the dog for barking and the cat for waking me up at 6am. And I most certainly wouldn’t clean anymore. I’d need to delete my internet history and probably go through my things and burn the diaries I wrote when I was 16 but kept so that my loved ones could find one day and publish them when I die once they realized the genius prose and intellect I exhibited at such a young age. Unappreciated in my own time, and all that. But here’s the thing, I read one of them about a month ago and spiraled into a week long depressive state of shame and embarrassment that anyone knew who I was at 16. So I’d burn those. I’d make a point of hanging out with as many friends as I could get to answer my texts, and then I’d drive to California and put my toes into the sand again and drink wine and talk about things that excited me with my friends and I’d go look at the Hollywood sign, I’d hike right up to it. Well, no, that’s a lie. I wouldn’t. Snakes and fear of the law would stop me. But I would go see it. And I would walk down Hollywood Blvd and still not make eye contact with the Superman and Miss Piggy (they’re not the real thing, don’t buy into their scams). And then I would go back to the beach again and put my feet in the sand. And I would close my eyes and listen to the waves and the seagulls that I’ll probably have to fight off later and I would feel the sun on my face. I would drink and laugh with my people again.

It sounds ridiculous and corny because the first thought I had when I thought about this bucket list question was traveling and seeing the world and all the stuff that people put on their lists, but I think that I would just live the life that I know. With the people that I know. And the places that I know. In my non-pants pants. I would hug my kids and my husband and my family and my friends. I would see and experience everything that makes me happy. Nothing new. No skydiving or roller coasters. No rock climbing or bungee jumping. No thrill seeking. I want to feel love and security and hugs. I want to talk about thoughts and ideas and jokes over candles and wine and brie. I want to sing and dance badly and laugh.

And yeah, if I found out I was dying, I would probably cry crouched on a bench with messy hair like dream lady. I would allow myself those 10 minutes. And who knows, in 30 or 40 years, I might have a different view on my life goals. And hopefully Dream Lady wasn’t giving me a death sentence, because jokes on her, I made a deal with the devil to live a million years so, sorry Dream Lady.

I don’t know how to end this because I feel like I’ve left us on a really strange note. This is way more serious than I ever want to be and that’s as embarrassing as my 16 year old me journals. Go back and read this in glitter gel pen voice. And instead of this, I should’ve just finished my draft from yesterday about dogs and cats. So… I’m going to go drink a glass of rose’ and pretend this blog post doesn’t exist. Hug your people. Do what you love. Ignore what you don’t.

End scene.